Monmouth town, set in the heart of the Wye Valley, officially designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Monmouth's Roman and medieval beginnings, Georgian mansions and Victorian courtyards provide the perfect backdrop for visitors.
Under its Roman garrison name Blestium it was a major link in the chain of control in South East Wales. Under Norman control and influence and through the middle ages, it developed further and by the 1600s was firmly established as a wealthy border town. Trade and activitiy was made possibly by its site, where the navigable Wye is joined by the Monnow and from its position on the main trading routes from all part of wales and into the mid regions of England. The centre is evidence of the thriving market town it become with a wide main street (for market space) and a lattice of narrow lanes and courtyards that now house the more interesting cafes, shops and small businesses. It used to have over 50 pubs and more than a few are still thriving today.
The town is studded with architectural gems fom its rich and varied history and retains an aura of Georgian prosperity. Monnow Bridge (shown above) built as a replacement for the original wooden structure in the late 13th century. St Thomas Church, Norman Chancery and late 19th century cross. The 15th-century doorway of the Robin Hood pub. Cornwall House, a fine example of Georgian architecture and once the town house of the Llangattock family and now home to the Monmouthshire Beacon newspaper. The Shire Hall, built in 1724, dominates the main Agincourt Square. Outside the Shire Hall the statue of Henry V looks down on Charles Rolls, of Rolls Royce cars. The 17th-century King's Head Hotel contains a plaster overmantel of Charles II. Monmouth Castle, birthplace of Henry V. The adjacent Great Castle House, built from the ruins of the castle as a town house, is now home to the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers. The King's Garden contains only plants known to have grown at the time of Henry's death in 1422. In Priory Street the impressive Priory Building and Geoffrey's Window, constructed 300 years after the death of Geoffrey of Monmouth whose History of the Kings of Britain was used as source by Shakespeare. The window is flanked by three gargoyles of an angel, knight and miller, representing the ecclesiastical, military and commercial foundations of the town at the time. St Mary's Church is an impressive structure with Norman foundations. Savoy Theatre built on the site of Wales' oldest theatre in 1927. Nelson Museum houses a good collection of the town's history and Nelson memorabilia. Lord Admiral Nelson's connection with the town was slight but the memorabilia was donated by Lady Llangattock, mother of Charles Stuart Rolls, pioneer airman, motorist and co-founder of Rolls Royce.
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